Tonight, I had somewhat of a mini-breakthrough. The other day, I purchased the Roy Harris “BJJ Over 40” app on the iPhone App Store, because I was hoping it would have some good tips for how to survive against the 20 year-olds. I have already watched all the videos in the app, but tonight was the first opportunity I had to try out some of the strategies. Roy Harris provides a lot of material in the app, so I knew I would not be able to incorporate everything right away. However, there were a few helpful suggestions that I felt I could try tonight to see if it would make a difference. While I didn’t execute his recommended game plan perfectly tonight, I was at least able to use it effectively enough to appreciate the merit of his approach. All three people I sparred against tonight were younger, stronger and more experienced than me, so they were perfect guinea pigs for me to try out Roy Harris’ suggestions. In a nutshell, Roy’s strategy is similar to the strategy Ryron Gracie used when he fought Andre Galvao at Metamoris. Ryron is not as strong, athletic, or as quick as Galvao, so he basically let Galvao attack him with everything but the kitchen sink for 15 minutes, causing Galvao to expend a lot of energy trying to submit Ryron, while Ryron just laid there, conserving his energy. After the 15 minute mark, Ryron turned up the heat and went after an exhausted Galvao. Brilliant! Ryron didn’t win, but more importantly, he didn’t lose. But…How exactly did Ryron do it? Ryron has been doing jiu jitsu since he was in diapers. This is what allowed him to survive against Galvao, who is a world class submission artist. I’ve watched the match multiple times, trying to pick up on what Ryron is doing, but it’s not always easy to spot the little things, even after listening to him and his brother Rener discuss the match in detail on Youtube. The thing I like about the Roy Harris app is that he walks you through a very similar kind of strategy, and breaks it down into bite sized pieces. So, how did I do? Well, I wasn’t submitted at all by the first guy, despite being placed into both side control and mount for an extended period. The second guy did submit me once, after taking my back, but I think he only took my back in the first place, because I momentarily strayed from the Roy Harris approach. The third guy was a blue belt. He did submit me once, but only because I left my wrist out like an idiot, so that he could wrist lock me. Had I stuck to the Roy Harris game plan (which doesn’t involve leaving your wrist dangling in the air for the other guy to grab), I don’t think the submission would have happened. More importantly, he had me in a pretty crushing side control at another point in the match for an extended period. Not only did he not submit me during that part of the match, I was actually able to escape. That’s a significant endorsement of the Roy Harris stuff I tried. Thanks to Roy Harris and his app, I think I should be able to make some major improvements in my bottom defense over the next few months.

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